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Saskatoon Skies The Newsletter of the Saskatoon Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Volume 33 January 2002 Number 1 Observing double stars is fun. My article on page 13 describes the basics of double star terminology


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Saskatoon Skies

The Newsletter of the Saskatoon Centre

of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
Volume 33 January 2002 Number 1



Observing double stars is fun. My article on page 13 describes the basics of double star terminology. Surely everyone who’s looked though a telescope has seen the beautiful double star Alberio (beta Cygni). Thousands of others await the next glimpse. Thousands also desperately need parametric measurement if you really want to get into that kind of observing!


RASC Calendar Happenings


Date (2002)

Event

Contact

Telephone

Jan. 21

Executive Meeting, City Hospital, 6:30 pm

Les Dickson

249-1091

Jan. 21

General Meeting, City Hospital, 7:30 pm

Les Dickson

249-1091

Feb. 18

General Meeting, City Hospital, 7:30 pm

Brigette Hesman, ISAS

Les Dickson

249-1091

Mar. 18

General Meeting, City Hospital, 7:30 pm

Les Dickson

249-1091

Apr. 15

General Meeting, City Hospital, 7:30 pm

Les Dickson

249-1091

Apr. 20

Astronomy Day Display

Les Dickson

249-1091

Apr. 21/22

Lyrid Meteor Peak

Rick Huziak

665-3392

Apr. 2002



Edmonton Centre Georges Moores Astronomy & Teachers Workshop

Rick Huziak

665-3392




Sky Buys and Mirror Sells

The Saskatoon Centre’s Swap and Sale Page!
Wanted: 25mm eyepiece, 1.25”, any technology. Call Rick Huziak at 665-3392.
Wanted: I'm looking for a 6mm eyepiece – most any type will do. Call Gord Sarty at 966-2321 (work).
Wanted: Piggyback camera mount to fit a C8. Call Darrell at 374-9278.
For Sale: A Guide to Pocket Astronomy, by Ridpath, 192pp, color - $10.00; An Introduction into Practical Astronomy, by Jones, 128pp, color - $10.00; Astronomy, by Menzel, 320pp, color plates - $15.00; Burnham’s Celestial Handbook, 3-vol. set - $30.00; Sky Catalog 2000 -Vol 2, by Sinnott - $30.00; Brass lined trunk - will carry an 8” or 10" SCT - $75.00; Accessory case c/w pull and pluck foam, 18” x 13”x 8" - $20.00; Parts tool kit, 16” x 8” x 7"-$10.00; 9-mm Kellner eyepiece - $20.00; Please note: all items are either in good or excellent condition. Please call Darrell at 374-9278 for details.


PRINTING OF THIS NEWSLETTER IS COURTESY OF

WBM OFFICE SYSTEMS

601 Second Avenue North, Saskatoon, SK, S7K 2C7
Copying is provided on a Risograph copier for a small fee.


Saskatoon Centre

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

P. O. Box 317, RPO University

Saskatoon, SK, S7N 4J8

URL: http://prana.usask.ca/~rasc/

E-mail: lcdickson@sk.sympatico.ca

Telephone: (306) 249-1091
Newsletter Editor - Richard Huziak

Copy - Brian Friesen & WBM

Collate - Friesen, Christie, Dicksons, Ferguson & Essar


IN THIS ISSUE

page


Calendar of Events & Sky Buys and Mirror Sells

2

Telescope Review – The Celestron 8 Deluxe – by Darrell Chatfield

4

Book Sales, the Newsletter On-line

5

Errata in the 2002 Handbook – by Rajiv Gupta (Handbook Editor)

5

The Planets This Month – January 2002 – by Murray Paulson (Edmonton Centre)

6

The Sleaford Observatory Page – by Rick Huziak

9

Earth Satellite Passesby Les Dickson

10

A Double Star Primer – by Rick Huziak

13

Messier, FNGC, H-400 & Binoc Club – by Rick Huziak

14

Meeting Announcements and Tidbits

5, 15

Minutes of the Dec. 17th General & Executive Meetings – by Al Hartridge, Secretary

16


Saskatoon Skies is published monthly by the Saskatoon Centre of the RASC. Mail distribution is approximately 100 copies per issue. Saskatoon Skies welcomes unsolicited articles, sketches, photographs, cartoons, and other astronomy or space science articles. Articles can be sent by mail in any format to the Centre’s mailbox. Submissions may also be sent by e-mail - preferred as plain unformatted ASCII text files without line breaks. Images sent by e-mail should be attached .GIFs, .TIFs .JPGs or similar. Send e-mail submissions to the editor at . Submitted materials can be returned upon request. Please send articles in “generic” formats, with standard grammatical formatting appreciated - 5 spaces at the beginning of paragraphs, two spaces after periods, one space after commas. A separate by-mail subscription to Saskatoon Skies is available for $15.00 per year. Saskatoon Skies is also posted on our Saskatoon Centre homepage as a .pdf file and can be downloaded free-of-charge. Members may choose to receive the newsletter by regular mail or via the Internet. Articles may be reprinted from Saskatoon Skies without expressed permission (unless otherwise stated), but source credit is requested. DEADLINE for submissions is the 26th of each month. Saskatoon Skies accepts commercial advertising. Please call the editor for rates. Members can advertise non-commercial items free of charge.



Telescope Review – the Celestron 8 Deluxe

By Darrell Chatfield



I thought I would write a short article regarding my purchase of a new Celestron 8" Deluxe S/C telescope. As some of you know, I had a Meade 10" LX6 that served me well for 3 years, but was finding it a bit heavy. Last year, I developed somewhat of a lower back problem, and the weight of the 10" was not easy on my back, so I sold it to Tyrone Klassen. Before that, I had a nice orange tube C-8 for about 3 years. That worked well, but as you all know, all astronomers get bitten by the aperture bug, so I bought the 10". (The orange tubed C-8 is now owned by Les Dickson). So, now I am back to another 8" scope. (Funny world, isn't it)?

I bought the C8D from a dealer in Calgary after doing a lot of research on the C8D and the Meade 8" LX10. The telescope arrived on August 18, 2001. Of course I had to try it out that night, and fortunately the skies cooperated. The differences between a standard Celestar 8 and Celestar 8 Deluxe are worth the money; namely a heavy duty tripod, wedge, better finder, declination motor, hand-controller, upgraded Plossl eyepiece, and Fastar capability. (I did not want the standard Celestar 8 that comes with a Wedgepod, which is a non-adjustable tripod arrangement).

Here are my findings on the telescope. The tripod is sturdy, and comes with removable rubber tips that fit over top of the chrome tips. It also has a Velcro strap to hold the legs together when transporting. The wedge is also sturdy, with a latitude adjuster to its credit. The optical tube is gleaming black, and fitted with a corrector plate cover that twists into position. It mounts onto the wedge with 3 generous-sized knobs, which makes for easier setup. The finder is a straight through 9 x 60 mm. (I have since changed it to an Omcon 45-degree finder that is "right" with the sky). The diagonal has been improved in that it is coated to be more reflective. A 26-mm Plossl eyepiece is a nice touch, also. The hand-controller is used for slow motion in both axes and fits well into a person’s hand. The telescope can be driven with a 9-volt battery, 12VDC, or 120VAC.

Optically, the telescope is excellent. I was able to see good detail on M31, and NGC 404. Jupiter and Saturn were also very good. On another night here in the city, I was able to see a galaxy from my side drive, namely NGC 1012, which is listed with a magnitude of 12!

I have been very happy with the telescope, even thought the declination motor has not been working since day one. This issue will be corrected by the dealer. I have also been making slight cosmetic modifications to the C8D, but that is just I. I have not tried the Fastar component yet, but if I ever get a CCD camera, the capability is there.

Even thought there are a few technical things I would like to change, I would still recommend this telescope to anyone, whether you are new to astronomy, or a seasoned observer. I wish you all clear skies.




Books 4 Sale

Books For Sale: The Saskatoon Centre has a number of Books left over form SSSP sales, and these are now available to general members to purchase at discount rates! There are only one or two copies remaining of the following titles. Contact Debbie Anderson at 242-8854 or bazoo.inc@shaw.ca. Prices include GST, shipping and handling.


Binocular Astronomy (hardcover) - $37.00

Astrophotography (G. N. Patterson) - $10.00**

Exploring the Sky by Day - $7.00

Cambridge Star Atlas - $35.00

RASC 2002 Calendars - $8.00**

SkyWatchers 2002 Calendar - $8.00**

RASC Stickers - $0.50

Other Worlds - $7.00

Extraterrestrials - $7.00

** reduced to clear pricing




Saskatoon Skies is ON-LINE

By Rick Huziak, Editor, huziak@SEDSystems.ca
Well – we’re doing it! Saskatoon Skies is ON-LINE. Members may convert their subscriptions from paper to electronic if they so desire, by sending either an email with their intention to either me or Bob Christie. Adobe .pdf Reader is necessary, but it is free at:
(http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html)
Those who wish to retain their paper subscriptions are welcome to do so. Watch for a format change to the newsletter beginning with the February 2002 issue. (I’ve delayed the start of the new format, since my computer is in the shop getting a big upgrade).

Handbook 2002 Errata - Table of Meteor Showers

By Rajiv Gupta, Editor, Observer's Handbook, gupta@INTERCHANGE.UBC.CA
The Table of Meteor Showers in 2002 on page 206 of the Observer's Handbook 2002 contains incorrect Moon percentage illumination entries. Corrected figures are available at:
http://www.rasc.ca/handbook/2002/HB02page206.html.
Approximate circumstances of the Moon for the meteor showers in 2002 can also be read from the Sky Month by Month section on pp. 69 - 91. The correct Moon percentage illumination figures for the prominent meteor showers in 2002 are as follows:

Quadrantid – 77; Lyrid – 71; Eta Aquarid – 42; S delta Aquarid – 80; Perseid – 23; Orionid – 99; S Taurid – 3; N Taurid – 63; Leonid a – 99; Leonid b – 100; Geminid – 74; Ursid – 91.



The Planets this Month - January 2002

By Murray D. Paulson (Edmonton Centre)
So, how was Christmas? Any new Naglers or telescopes? No, you say, he didn’t stop by with that kind of loot. Well darn it anyway! He didn’t even send us the clear weather for the Saturn graze. I checked Guide 7.0 and the next favorable occultations of Saturn in our area will occur in 2037.

Mercury swings into its eastern elongation and is visible in the evening twilight in mid-January. In the eyepiece you will see dichotomy, which occurs on January 12th as a 7.5 arc-second half disk. At this time it will sit 18-1/2 degrees from the sun and shine at magnitude -0.3. With luck we may follow it for a week around this period. On January 16th, a 2 - ½ day old moon will sit 10 degrees south and about 3 degrees up from Mercury. Look for Mercury about 3/4 hr after sunset in the southwest. The azimuth is about 235 degrees. Mercury sets at around 6:30 p.m. local time and fades rapidly over this week period to magnitude 1.7 on January 21st. By January 27th, Mercury will be in conjunction with the sun and from there will speed into February’s morning sky.

Venus lies in superior conjunction with the sun on January 14th. It is on the far side of the sun and won’t make an appearance in the evening twilight until early March.

Mars continues to rise in the evening sky. Its diminutive 5.8” disk will show its characteristic red in the eyepiece and would make a good companion piece while observing Mercury. It lies another 44 degrees eastward along the ecliptic at this time and shines at magnitude 0.8. Mars has paradoxically risen as it sinks into the west. This is a result of the angle of the ecliptic becoming more vertical and drawing Mars higher into the sky even as it moves west. Mars now lies 33 degrees above the horizon shortly after it becomes visible in the twilight!

In early January Jupiter shows a 47" disk and shines at magnitude -2.8. I have seen some of the good satellite events with Ganymede but missed the bull’s eye transit on New Years eve. Clouds have prevented me from seeing the Callisto event but there is another event this coming month, well placed on the 14th (Sunday the 13th) and again on January 31st (a Wednesday night). If you are fortunate enough to see an eclipse event on a night of good seeing, you may get the chance to see Jupiter’s shadow taking a bite out of the disk of the moon. This takes very good seeing and very high powers, but is a very nice observation. Ganymede or Callisto have the largest disks and make the best targets for this kind of observation. Remember that the eclipse is timed for the mid-event, and the larger outer satellites will exhibit the shadow 3 to 4 minutes before the predicted time.

I also have had some nights of excellent seeing on Jupiter. The Great Red Spot (GRS) was well delineated and was followed by some rather large ovals in the South Equatorial Belt (SEB). This belt is divided in two. I could also see some short bits of the South Temperate Belt near the GRS looking rather like an eyebrow. There is some subtle structure just on the edge of visibility in the Southern Polar Region. The North Equatorial Belt (NEB) has some dark barges visible on it. There is a pair of barges near the GRS and another barge on the other side of the planet. Just north of the NEB, the North Temperate Belt is quite sharply defined. Check out ALPO’s site for the latest amateur photographs of the planet. ALPO’s web site is http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/alpo/. Check the Jupiter section and check the link JUPITER OBSERVATIONS AND ALERTS. I have included a few photographs from their image gallery.



I have included a list of highlight Galilean events for the next month. All times are Universal Time (UT). Just subtract 6 hours to get our local time. (The ephemeris is generated by Guide 7.0).


Date




Time

Moon

event




14

Jan

1:56

IV

Tr

start

14

Jan

4:38

IV

Tr

end

14

Jan

4:58

IV

Sh

start

14

Jan

7:50

IV

Sh

end

19

Jan

5:14

I

Oc

start

19

Jan

6:28

III

Oc

start

19

Jan

7:56

I

Ecl

end

20

Jan

2:21

I

Tr

start

20

Jan

2:49

I

Sh

start

20

Jan

4:35

I

Tr

end

20

Jan

5:04

I

Sh

end

23

Jan

1:21

III

Sh

end

24

Jan

0:19

II

Sh

start

24

Jan

1:59

II

Tr

end

24

Jan

3:08

II

Sh

end

30

Jan

2:14

III

Sh

start

30

Jan

2:30

III

Tr

end

30

Jan

5:21

III

Sh

end

31

Jan

1:29

II

Tr

start

31

Jan

2:03

IV

Sh

end

31

Jan

2:56

II

Sh

start

31

Jan

4:18

II

Tr

end

31

Jan

5:45

II

Sh

end

5

Feb

0:19

I

Tr

start

5

Feb

1:07

I

Sh

start

5

Feb

2:33

I

Tr

end

5

Feb

3:22

I

Sh

end

6

Feb

0:44

I

Ecl

end

6

Feb

2:53

III

Tr

start

6

Feb

5:56

III

Tr

end

6

Feb

6:14

III

Sh

start

7

Feb

3:49

II

Tr

start

7

Feb

5:33

II

Sh

start

7

Feb

6:38

II

Tr

end

8

Feb

0:51

IV

Oc

end

8

Feb

6:13

IV

Ecl

start

8

Feb

9:22

IV

Ecl

end

Our wonderful weather of late December didn't quite make it to the Saturn graze. It was close, but no cigar! This coming month the moon once more occults Saturn, but the event is only visible in the eastern part of the world. We have one more chance on a Saturn occultation but it is a daytime event in mid-April. I will have more info on it in the March issue. Saturn shines at magnitude –0.1 and shows a 19.5” disk this month. On the few occasions I have had to observe Saturn I have been luck to have reasonable seeing. The placement of the rings above the South Pole of the planet and the shadow projected onto the rings enhances the 3-D effect of it all. Subtle contrasts in the various rings and structure that sits at the edge of visibility continually amaze me. Look for the Encke minima in the outer ring A and look for subtle stranding in the inner reaches of ring B. Another 3-D effect is how spread out the moons are from Saturn as they pass above or below it. They really seem to hang in space.





Clear Sky Clocks for Saskatchewan

By Vance Petriew,

Here is the link to the sky clocks for Saskatchewan. The clocks are based on the data from the Astronomy Weather Forecast pages. I've watched these forecasts for well over a year and find them to be pretty accurate within a 24-hour period. The animations allow you to predict more exact times for cloud clearing than the individual, 3-hour images do. Enjoy!

http://cleardarksky.com/csk/prov/Saskatchewan_clocks.shtml

http://www.cmc.ec.gc.ca/cmc/htmls/mainpage.html



Bottle Drive to Raise Some Cash

By Darrell Chatfield

I’d like to have a bottle drive to do some fundraising for the Centre. Please bring your empties to the next General Meeting. I will collect these bottles from your cars following the meeting. If you cannot attend the meeting and would like to contribute bottles anyway, please call me at 374-9278.




The Sleaford Observatory

Longitude: 105 deg 55’ 13” +/- 13” W

Latitude: 52 deg 05’ 04” +/- 08” N

Telephone: (306) 255-2045

by Rick Huziak
Work at the Site – Bill is continuing to work at making the Patterson Dome turn more freely. The C-8 is now installed and the pier has been aligned, though fine, precise alignment is continuing. Completion of railing and outdoor work has been delayed until the spring. Now to raise $17,000 for the next building!



Site Useage for 2001 – We’ve had excellent use of the Sleaford Observatory in 2001 and we hope that it continues in 2002. The numbers in the table show good overall visitation, with the number of nights the site was used by RASC members, excluding visits by the U of S Astronomy 100 or 212 students, and excluding the hundreds of visitors and teachers who have visited the site during open houses. The number of users represents the number of individuals that observed from the site, though the same observer may have observed from the site on several occasions during a month (as is the usual case). The numbers show that the site was used on 22% of possible nights during the year. This is a very good percentage, since about 25% of the nights are cloudy, and 40% of the nights have a bright moon present for a substantial part of the night. If everyone who used the site this year was included in the count (including the Public open house, Regina Centre visit, teacher’s tours, and Astronomy student usage, the totals would increase to about 130 nights used and almost 700 visitors!


RASC Sleaford Observer Usage (2001)

Month

No. of Nites

No. of Users

Jan.

5

11

Feb.

3

6

Mar.

12

31

Apr.

2

3

May

9

29

Jun.

4

9

Jul.

10

20

Aug.

9

23

Sep.

10

24

Oct.

7

30

Nov.

4

19

Dec.

6

11

Totals

81

216


Site Access The roads to Sleaford continue to be in good winter driving condition. In fact, the Highway #5 has been re-paved past the St. Denis turnoff, making for smooth sailing. The site itself has very little snow, making entry easy, with no worry of getting stuck. No reason not to come observing!
Variable Star Charts – An entire set of about 2600 AAVSO variable star charts has been placed out at the site in 8 binders. Please use these if you are observing variables, but please do not remove the binders from the site library. I will maintain and update these charts as AAVSO issues new ones.
Earth Satellite Passes

By Les Dickson (from www.heavens-above.com)

International Space Station* Evening Passes – January 16 to February 21





Date

Mag




Starts







Max. Altitude







Ends










Time

Alt.

Az.

Time

Alt.

Az.

Time

Alt.

Az.

16 Jan

1.3

08:28:26

10

W

08:30:59

21

SW

08:33:32

10

SSE

17 Jan

2.2

06:02:04

19

ESE

06:02:04

19

ESE

06:03:07

10

ESE

17 Jan

0.6

07:34:32

22

WSW

07:35:55

32

SSW

07:38:51

10

SE

18 Jan

0.6

06:41:25

38

SSE

06:41:25

38

SSE

06:43:48

10

SE

18 Jan

1.8

08:14:44

10

WSW

08:16:23

13

SW

08:18:01

10

S

19 Jan

1.1

07:20:41

20

SW

07:21:09

21

SW

07:23:40

10

SSE

20 Jan

1.7

06:27:27

19

SSE

06:27:27

19

SSE

06:28:41

10

SE

21 Jan

1.9

07:06:37

12

SSW

07:06:37

12

SSW

07:07:28

10

S

02 Feb

1.8

20:26:07

10

SW

20:27:12

18

SSW

20:27:12

18

SSW

03 Feb

1.1

19:29:30

10

SSW

19:32:01

21

SSE

19:32:32

20

SE

04 Feb

0.2

20:07:26

10

SW

20:10:01

42

S

20:10:01

42

S

05 Feb

0.6

19:10:20

10

SW

19:13:13

31

SSE

19:15:01

18

E

05 Feb

1.7

20:45:54

10

WSW

20:47:20

24

WSW

20:47:20

24

WSW

06 Feb

-0.5

19:48:25

10

WSW

19:51:35

62

SSE

19:52:11

49

ESE

07 Feb

0.1

18:50:57

10

SW

18:54:03

43

SSE

18:56:53

11

E

07 Feb

0.4

20:26:47

10

W

20:29:12

47

W

20:29:12

47

W

08 Feb

-0.6

19:29:02

10

WSW

19:32:14

75

S

19:33:46

28

E

08 Feb

2.3

21:05:06

10

W

21:06:04

18

W

21:06:04

18

W

09 Feb

-0.7

20:07:13

10

W

20:10:24

83

SSW

20:10:32

80

SE

10 Feb

-0.6

19:09:13

10

W

19:12:27

83

SSE

19:14:55

16

E

10 Feb

1.2

20:45:18

10

W

20:47:12

32

W

20:47:12

32

W

11 Feb

-0.6

19:47:11

10

W

19:50:24

76

S

19:51:29

37

ESE

12 Feb

-0.6

18:48:58

10

W

18:52:11

84

S

18:55:22

10

E

12 Feb

0.2

20:25:03

10

W

20:27:59

44

SSW

20:27:59

44

SSW

13 Feb

-0.3

19:26:41

10

W

19:29:52

63

SSW

19:32:09

17

ESE

13 Feb

2.1

21:03:04

10

W

21:04:25

17

WSW

21:04:25

17

WSW

14 Feb

0.8

20:04:23

10

W

20:07:18

33

SSW

20:08:33

23

SSE

15 Feb

0.2

19:05:45

10

W

19:08:54

49

SSW

19:11:57

10

SE

15 Feb

2.2

20:42:34

10

WSW

20:44:22

14

SW

20:44:57

14

SSW

16 Feb

1.6

19:43:21

10

W

19:45:57

23

SSW

19:48:34

10

SSE

18 Feb

2.3

19:22:02

10

WSW

19:24:08

16

SW

19:26:13

10

S

* For more info about the International Space Station, visit their website at http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/



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